Heslin the hero as Westmeath claim vital win

Westmeath 0-13 Galway 0-12

Westmeath 0-13 Galway 0-12

Young midfielder John Heslin provided the inspiration for Westmeath this afternoon, as a strong finish saw them beat Galway for their first Division 2 win.

Heslin converted seven frees in a top-scoring display for the midlanders, just a few weeks after turning his back on an Australian Rules career with Richmond.

The difference between the sides in the end was an injury-time point from Heslin’s centre-field partner Paul Bannon.

Playing into the wind in the first half, Pat Flanagan’s home side were able to keep pace with a Galway side that drew with Louth last time out.

The Tribesmen struggled to create much in open play at Cusack Park however, with Michael Martin providing their biggest first half scoring contribution with four frees.

Westmeath had built an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead thanks to a run of frees from Heslin (0-2) and Phillip Sheridan, and they were only behind on one occasion during the first 35 minutes.

Points from play from Galway’s Paul Conroy and Gareth Bradshaw were cancelled out by a late rally from Westmeath who notched scores through David Glennon, Heslin and Paul Sharry.

Martin sent over his fourth successful free to bring Galway level for the break at 0-6 apiece, and the visitors made better use of possession in the second period.

After an evenly-contested spell, white flags from Conor Doherty, Niall Coleman and Kieran McGrath moved Alan Mulholland’s charges ahead.

Chasing their second victory of the league run, Galway went on another spurt in response to points for the hosts from substitute Callum McCormack and Heslin.

Cummins, Sean Armstrong and Conroy picked off a succession of points to give the Tribesmen a 0-13 to 0-11 advantage with just three minutes of normal time left.

Time was not on Westmeath’s side but they dug a rousing result out thanks to substitute Denis Glennon’s only point, a leveller from Heslin and finally the match-winning 20-metre free from Bannon.

Scorers - Westmeath: J Heslin 0-7 (0-7f), P Bannon 0-2, David Glennon, P Sharry, P Sheridan, G Egan, Denis Glennon 0-1 each.

Galway: M Martin 0-4 (0-4f), P Conroy, D Cummins 0-2 each, K McGrath, N Coleman, M Hehir (0-1f), C Doherty, S Armstrong 0-1 each.

WESTMEATH: G Connaughton; M Curley, K Gavin, K Maguire; D McDermott, P Sharry, A Finnan; J Heslin, P Bannon; K Martin, G Egan, P Sheridan; A Giles, M Ennis, David Glennon.

Subs used: C McCormack for Sheridan (56 mins), Denis Glennon for Giles (57).

GALWAY: M Breathnach; K McGrath, F Hanley, K Kelly; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G Sice; N Coleman, J Bergin; C Doherty, P Conroy, M Hehir; M Martin, N Joyce, D Cummins.

Subs used: D Burke for Joyce (35 mins), G Higgins for Martin (47), S Armstrong for Hehir (50), G O’Donnell for Bergin (58).

Referee: David Gough (Meath).

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